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Bagosphere Expands Job Training Operations

Markel Serva, sales officer, shares to the local media his struggles to support his family as a farmer and a tricycle driver. He later joined the BagoSphere training program and is now employed at a call center. (BagoSphere Photo)      
Social enterprise BagoSphere is expanding its intensive and affordable job training program to key cities in the Philippines to give more high school and college graduates better opportunities to jumpstart their career in the outsourcing industry.

“When we first started BagoSphere, we wanted to create an affordable solution to tackle youth unemployment. In the last two years testing and implementing our training model in Bago City, we learned a lot about helping young people find meaningful jobs. We saw life-transforming results and measurable social impact. Now, we have started our expansion plans with Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental, and we hope to help more high school and college graduates gain relevant communication and IT skills in an authentic work setting and get them hired,” said Zhihan Lee, co-founder and CEO of BagoSphere.

He added: “we started BagoSphere because we have seen that youth unemployment is one of the strongest drivers for poverty. At the same time, we live in a world where a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job anymore, and it’s a long and expensive road getting there. In India, I saw how rural youths with no formal education can find full-time employment thirty minutes away from home in a data work center! I thought to myself, we have to help young people find good jobs in an increasingly competitive job market in Southeast Asia.”

Lee along with Ellwyn Tan and Ivan Lau founded BagoSphere after leading volunteer projects in Bago City while they were still in college at the National University of Singapore.

BagoSphere, which operated in January 2013, boasted 373 graduates, 240 of which have been hired by business process outsourcing firms, despite more than 50 percent of them have zero previous work experience. The graduates received an average starting salary and performance incentives of P10,000 per month.

Because of the program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 6 has tapped BagoSphere to train students belonging to the conditional cash transfer (CCT) beneficiary-families from Bago City. Atleast 80 percent of its first batch have been employed within two weeks of graduation. Because of this, DSWD is now looking at a long-term partnership with BagoSphere.

BagoSphere has partnered with Teleperformance, Transcom, and Panasiatic – three of the leading global outsourcing companies in the country – for immediate placements after undergoing training.

Bagosphere is set to open its Quezon City branch in the fourth quarter of the year. Its expansion was backed by its latest impact investor Elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalisation, a Swiss-based organization supporting social enterprises based in developing countries.  

Lee is expecting to replicate their success in Bago City to the Bacolod and Quezon City branches.

“We are proud of the milestones achieved by BagoSphere, the only brick-and-mortar company in our startup portfolio.  Hopefully, the inspiring stories coming out of the Bagosphere graduates would encourage other impact investors to sign up with Bagosphere so that the work they’ve started for the benefit of unemployed and underemployed Filipino youth would reach other areas,” said Pia Angeli Bernal, social impact investments manager of Kickstart.

BagoSphere is currently accepting applications for its August 10 classes in the cities of Bacolod and Bago.


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